Overland Optimistic It Addresses Unstructured Data Growth

Mired in a sea of red ink, Overland Storage is looking to tap into a massive new opportunity, the explosively growing unstructured data storage market. The San Diego-based company’s latest offering, a clustered NAS solution, SnapScale, is intended to address critical pain points identified by its customers, and supported by third-party research, said Joe Disher, director of product marketing for disk-based products.

Referring to a recent survey by Enterprise Strategy Group, he said the rapid growth and management of unstructured data was cited most often – 40% of the time – as one of the top storage challenges organizations are facing. Other critical issues were: hardware costs (39%); data protection (39%); running out of physical space (25%); need to support growing virtual server environments (25%); and data migration (25%).

A recent IDC study, <i>The Economic Benefit of Storage Efficiency Technologies</i> reported that annual data growth is ranging between 40-60%. It said technologies that help increase utilization of existing and new storage assets are widely welcomed by end users, and as awareness of these technologies increases, storage vendors should be ready to deliver a variety of technologies to the whole spectrum of customers, from large businesses all the way down to small companies.

That’s what Overland is looking to accomplish. Featuring a new operating system (RAINcloud), SnapScale reportedly eliminates independent storage silos and unifies storage volumes under one global namespace delivering a simple to deploy, easy to manage, high-performance solution. Starting at $19,995 for a 24TB configuration, it is scalable to 512 petabytes and includes such enterprise-class features as redundancy, snapshots, automatic failover, replication and flexible provisioning.

One of the keys to SnapScale is its high-availability capability, said Disher. “High availability takes us to a different space in the market. We’re really focused on providing the high availability for the enterprise.”

Terri McClure, senior analyst at ESG, agreed that HA at scale is important. “This product is targeted at content-rich environments – so keeping that in mind I would say high availability at scale is what is important – the thing about verticals where a lot of content is produced and shared internally, say legal – lots and lots of documents and drawings and if they are not available when needed there could be dire consequences.” Other key attributes include ease of use and scalability she said, which makes it hard to narrow to just one “most important” benefit.

“Overland’s move into this space is a good one,” she said. “The midrange scale-out market is underserved – currently dominated by bigger vendors’ scale-up solutions. As unstructured data continues to grow at a blistering pace, we expect that these scale-up systems may still find a home in file-based transactional environments but for fast-growing, content-rich environments and even home directories where richer file formats are likely to accelerate growth even more (think multi-GB PowerPoint files with high-definition photos and video). That’s where the big data growth is, and this product is well suited to serve those needs with a scalable, easily managed solution. Stovepiped scale-up solutions just don’t make sense in these types of use cases.”

It’s a good first move, but Overland still has some work to do, she said. “It will need to add advanced features such as space-saving thin clones and synchronous replication, but those will come over time.”

Of course time could be an issue. According to Overland’s 2012 10K Filing, the company has a history of net losses which are expected to continue for some time and <i>“we may not achieve or maintain profitability.”</i> It has incurred significant operating losses in its last seven fiscal years and anticipates continued losses during fiscal 2013.

Among SnapScale’s productivity benefits are: simple setup – SnapScale nodes automatically discover each other and are sharing data in less than 10 minutes; flexibility – administrators can choose between automatic two-way or three-way data redundancy and site-to-site replication to meet disaster recovery goals; availability – SnapScale delivers redundancy of all components and simultaneously writes data across multiple nodes and drives in real-time ensuring no single point of failure; scalability – scale-up by adding drives, or scale-out by adding nodes as needed to increase storage pool space, and additional capacity can be added to the global namespace without downtime or user disruption; and performance – is optimized and scales linearly as client and server connections are balanced across the SnapScale cluster to increase throughput.

Feeds & Speeds:

-2U form factor;

-3.5” near-line SATA drives; initially shipping in 2-3Tb drives;

-three-node cluster capacity, 12-36 drives, scalable to 512PB;

-high availability with automatic failover

-two or three-way data redundancy;

-remote replication (optional $999);

-Volume Management included;

-Flexible Volumes included; and

-Snapshots included.



Author: Steve Wexler

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